After our quick stay in Utah, we continued west on our way home through Colorado. Though Jack and I have both been several times to the state, it’s been a long time since we’ve been to the Rockies. What better time to revisit them when we’re already driving through them anyway?
The first day in Colorado, we decided to drive through Colorado National Monument, which was the scenic route for the direction we were headed. It’s in one of the dustier, drier parts of the state but is no less gorgeous. After checking in using Claire’s trusty fourth-grade pass
and practically being guaranteed to see bighorn sheep, we set off on our trip up the mountain ridge.
The best part about our initial trip to Colorado was that there was hardly anyone there (social distancing outdoors for the win!). We were road tripping with Jack’s sister but otherwise, we were basically left to ourselves in the wide-open spaces.
We drove leisurely up the winding, steep paths, and stopped every once in a while to enjoy the views. About halfway up is a visitor’s center with a short hiking path behind. After everyone used the restroom and we filled up our water bottles, we decided to do a little exploring.
There wasn’t exactly a marked path but we wandered anyway. It was a nice change of scenery from our normal family hikes, though getting anywhere remotely close to the edge made me practically hyperventilate. The last thing I’d need would be one of my kids rolling over the cliff because they were goofing around.
Though it was sunny and dry, it wasn’t particularly hot, which was also nice. The trail wasn’t more than a half a mile but it gave a great view of the plateaus and canyons formed from sandstone and granite.
Though we never did see any bighorn sheep (surprise, surprise…no big wildlife again), we did see plenty of other flora and fauna. There were Western Whiptail lizards everywhere and they were sure fun to chase. They were entirely too fast and had too many places to hide for us to be able to catch them, but we enjoyed the hunt all the same.
Evelyn also learned that it’s not a good idea to touch cacti because they have thorns for a reason. Thankfully, they didn’t go deep and came out easily.
When we’d had our fill of the area, we moseyed back to the cars and kept driving. The nice thing about the park is that it’s possible to see so much of it by just driving, so we weren’t losing time on our schedule and were still getting great views.
Like this one…can you see the mummy laid out on the cliff face? I’m always impressed when people have such active imaginations that they can see the initial formation. If I was looking without being told to look for a mummy, I would have missed it for certain.
We rolled down the other side and out of the park to get dinner before heading to our next Air BnB. The area around Grand Junction was just as pretty and had some surprising crops. There were fruit orchards and vineyards, and gobs and gobs of lavender fields.
Their road naming system also had us laughing. The fractions of roads kind of made it feel Harry Potter-esque.
If there’s one thing our kids are, they’re great travelers. They love dragging their suitcases in the house and excitedly decide who is going to sleep where. Then when it’s time to go to bed, they settle in relatively quickly and can sleep without waking up, worried about being in a strange house.
The house we stayed in was so cute and chic and we spent several minutes admiring the artwork hung around the home. The best part of the house though had to be that it was in the country and had a fantastic view out the front window. Talk about purple mountain majesties in the morning!